Rare Spirits: Where Can We Find Pappy Van Winkle?

Categories: Booze Hound
pappy23.jpg
The Washington City Paper wrote last week on how difficult it is to keep Pappy Van Winkle in stock. The bourbon from Old Rip Van Winkle distillery has a cult following for its 15-, 20-, or 23-year-aged booze and has been a thing for quite a while now.

"The strategy of scarcity" builds a following and drives up the price, Julian Van Winkle III told Fortune last year. The 20-year-aged Pappy costs $239 a bottle, and the 23-year-aged costs $399 a bottle.

Perhaps it's the weather -- is bourbon a winter spirit? -- or perhaps it's because bourbon fever isn't as fervent in South Florida: There seems to be less demand for Pappy Van Winkle in these parts. I had some this past weekend at The Raleigh, which carries all three on the menu. "Is that the last of it?" asked a server when he poured me the end of the 15-year-aged bottle, priced at $23 a glass. He was able to find a replacement as well as bottles of the older stuff.

Even at the recently opened and very popular Yardbird, it's readily available. "Does your distributor have a special relationship with the distillery?" I asked. The bartender didn't know, but acknowledged they've had it since the restaurant opened. Locally, Tap 42 sells the 15-year aged and employee confirmed when I called this afternoon.

Outside of Florida, all versions of the bourbon are in high demand if they're available at all. From Washington City Paper:"'We got a batch just before Christmas that sold out in a day and a half,' said Andy Creemer, manager of MacArthur Beverages. 'The complete lack of the stuff in the market has turned it into a bit of a frenzy.'" Other store owners laughed when the writer asked if it's in stock.

At the Fort Lauderdale location of Total Wine, the only Pappy Van Winkle in stock is the 23-year aged, costing $299 a bottle, $100 less than what it's going for online and elsewhere.

"We buy as much as we can get our hands on every October," said Sara Toback, Spirits buyer for Total Wine Corporate based in Maryland. She explained that the distillery has a relationship with a supplier from each state and that Total Wine buys the bourbon through the supplier. She said each store sells out between six and eight weeks.

If you've tried it, are the varieties of Pappy Van Winkle worth it? Sound off in the comments.


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Tap 42

1411 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL

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11 comments
Buy Irish Whisky
Buy Irish Whisky

It was well said about wine that it is very much precious if it is old one... and if any body provide these precious wine at such a low cost it will be really honourable work...

Jpbrooklyn
Jpbrooklyn

Those are eBay prices. The 15 is $70; the 20 $109; and the 23 $250. When you can find it, that is.

Dennisn979
Dennisn979

You are correct to not confuse eBay prices with normal retail. In the St. Louis area last November I paid $53 for PVW15 and $90 for PVW20. I received a PVW23 for Christmas. I really like the 15 as it is the best value of the three. I'd rather have four or five bottles of that than one bottle of the 23.

drtrishy
drtrishy

Where did you find it in the St. Louis Area?

FQS9000
FQS9000

A superb hooker runs $400, so will a bottle of 23 year old Pappy provide more happiness?  You bet.  Women are on their own.

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

As of a couple weeks ago Tap 42 had the 23 year for a cool $35 a drink (with rocks or w/o). I personally think that's a bit pricey for one drink but not everybody in my party agreed. I paid $0 for one sip and it was definitely worth it.

Melissamccart
Melissamccart

I just heard from someone on twitter that Yardbird sells the 23 for $200 a serving. Insane.

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

And by "worth it" I meant a free sip. I stand by $35 being too much for a drink.

Danb73
Danb73

IMO, no taste benefit to aging bourbon more then 15 years. It's all just for marketing and to be able to charge $23 a glass for a $10 drink

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